Good Day, Sungold

And good-bye, Sungold.

Sungolds

I’ve been picking nearly a pint a day from my Sungold cherry tomato plant for the past couple weeks.

I’ve frozen them like little marbles to pop into soups and sauces this winter. I’ve oven-dried them for hours, creating raisiny, orange bursts of sugar that take up less room in the freezer than the marbles. I’ve given boxes and boxes away. I’ve made panzanella (twice), pasta with corn, squash, and cherry tomatoes (twice), countless tomato-cucumber salads, end even an on-the-spot Vitamix soup.

I’ve had enough.

So today, the plant, which was starting its swan song anyway, came out of the ground.

Vine
Thanks, Sungold. You were a champ in an otherwise challenging tomato season.

Before I snipped the vines into baggable pieces, I picked them clean, of course. Adding this morning’s harvest to those from the past few days, I had exactly 300 perfect tomatoes (yes, I counted as I destemmed).

I had about half as many green ones, too.

All were dispatched within an hour today.

  • The 300 pieces of gold (that’s about 10 cups of tomatoes) are now in 5 pint jars (3 in the freezer and 2 in the fridge).
  • And the underripe guys (why are they guys? but they are, right?) are pickle-curing in 4 small jars, just waiting for the right Bloody Mary or martini to come along.
Quick Sungold Tomato Purèe

Use this as a base for pasta sauce, or even unadulterated as a pizza sauce – it’s that sweet. It’ll keep okay in the fridge for a week or two, and for up to a year in the freezer. Note that you’ll need a whole mess of tomatoes – a quart breaks down into a scant 2 cups of purèe.

Loaded
Skip the food mill. A blender or food processor will take care of the skins and seeds.
  • Sungold (or other cherry tomatoes)

That’s right. That’s your ingredient list. The preparation is equally simple.

  • Set a large pot of water on to boil, and fill a large bowl with ice water.
  • Pick the crowny stems off your tomatoes and wash them well.
  • Blanch the tomatoes for 90 seconds, then shock them in the ice water.
  • Whir them up in a blender or food processor until you get a smooth purèe.
  • Pour into freezer-safe jars or containers, leaving a good half-inch headspace to allow for expansion.
Jars of Sunshine
Liquid gold, labelled.

Though it’s hard to believe you could mistake that color for anything else, it’s always safest to label the container before you put it away.

Pickled Green Sungolds

This is a super-easy pickle. I like my tom-olives with a little zip, so I put in a hunk of cayenne pepper I dried last year. If you prefer them milder, leave that part out.

Greenies
Future tomolives
  • 1 pint green (or nearly ripe) Sungold cherry tomatoes, destemmed and washed
  • 1 cup white wine vinegar
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 tbsp pickling salt (or coarse Kosher salt)
  • 3 small garlic cloves
  • 3 sprigs fresh dill
  • 3 1-inch pieces of dried cayenne chile pepper (or red pepper flakes)
  • black peppercorns
  • celery seed

Pinches

  • Prepare three half-pint jars and lids for canning by simmering them in water for 10 minutes.
  • In a small saucepan, bring the vinegar, water, and salt to a boil.
  • Into each hot jar, place a clove of garlic, a sprig of dill, the cayenne (or a pinch of red pepper flakes), and a pinch each of peppercorns and celery seed.
  • Pack the green tomatoes into the jars as tightly as you can (no worries if you break the skins on a few).
  • Ladle enough brine into each jar to cover the tomatoes while still leaving about 1/4-inch of headspace.

Pickles

  • Poke out any bubbles with a wooden chopstick or bamboo skewer, and top off with more brine, if necessary.
  • Wipe rims, apply lids, and process in a boiling-water canner for 10 minutes.
  • Remove to a folded kitchen towel on the counter.

When cooled completely, check the seals and label the jars. Tomatoes will get mushy if you try to reprocess them, so store any unsealed jars in the fridge. Either way, let them cure for a least a week before you break into them.

Pickled green tomatoes
Dirty martini? Bloody Mary? Cheese-side snack?

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